Kuru Karama, Nigeria – Volunteers recovered scores more bodies in Nigeria’s troubled central Plateau state as the death toll from inter-religious clashes rose and the army was ordered to step up security. Scores of bodies were picked up from streets, houses and open water wells in Kuru Karama, a village some 30 kilometres south of state capital Jos.
Many of the victims had been thrown into drinking water wells, the leader of a Muslim aid team said.
“So far we have retrieved 62 bodies but many more are still in the wells and I’m afraid we may have to sand-fill them because the bodies have decomposed so bad that the flesh disintegrates when we try to bring them out,” Ibrahim Tanimu told AFP.
Tanimu’s team piled the bodies into waiting vans late on Thursday.
The state government has given no official death toll from the violence, which broke out on Sunday, but religious leaders and medical workers said they had counted around 300 bodies by Wednesday.
Thousands of troops had deployed in the city and by late
Wednesday had relaxed a 48-hour curfew to allow people to replenish depleted food and water supplies, collect bodies and bury the dead.
Ninety-eight victims were buried in a mass grave in the central city on Thursday.
Fighting broke out in Jos on Sunday between religious gangs after a Christian landowner said a Muslim construction site was encroaching on his land.
The violence later spread to small towns and villages on the outskirts of Jos, the capital of Plateau state.
Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan late Thursday ordered the military to take over the security of the affected regions, as well as in neighbouring areas where reprisals were feared.
“I have today ordered the army to lead the security forces to take over the entire security of the affected areas, including those areas that are considered prone to risk,” he said. – Sapa-AFP